The first settlement was made in 1797, by Col. John RANDALL, from Stonington, Conn., who located in the west part of the town on lot 48, where Charles H. BROWNING now lives, at Pharsalia. He built there, in 1799 or 1800, the first frame house in the town. It is not standing now. In 1799 his son Charles went to Norwich, where a saw-mill had been built the previous year, and purchased the first load of boards ever used in Pharsalia. In 1800, Col. Randall removed to Norwich with his family, leaving his son, Col. Denison upon the farm in Pharsalia, which the latter occupied till his death, Oct. 18, 1824. The Randalls have been a prominent family in the county, but none of the descendants are left in Pharsalia. Roswell, a younger son, was for some time engaged in mercantile business in Pharsalia.
[See page 316 of this work for a full account of the Randall family.]
The DENISONs were brothers, and settled in the south-east part of the town, Daniel on lot 70, the first lot east of East Pharsalia, on the stage road, where Carolos HALL now lives, and Joseph, on lot 59, the lot north of his brother's, on the place now owned and occupied by Justus and Selden MARSH. Aaron B. GATES, of Norwich, owns the Daniel Denison farm. Both afterwards removed to Oxford. They were large land-holders and Daniel especially was a man of some prominence. He owned at one time the whole of lots 70, 54, 43, and 38, besides other lands. He built on lot 70, at the place of his settlement, the first frame barn in town. It was torn down a few years ago. Daniel died in Norwich March 17, 1818, aged 77. None of the descendants of the Denisons are left in the town.
The BREEDs also were brothers, and settled in the west part of the town, Joseph on lot 49 and Caleb on lot 50, on the farm now occupied by his son Matthew, where he died Sept. 14, 1828, aged 66, and Rhody, his wife, Dec. 9, 1827, aged 60.
Nehemiah BROWN settled a mile and a half north-east of Pharsalia, where John LUTHER now lives. He and his wife, Rebecca, died at the residence of their son-in-law, Jabish BROWN, the former Dec. 15, 1824, aged 84, and the latter, Dec. 5, 1831, aged 84. Their children were Nehemiah, Lewis, Kitturah, Polly and Rebecca.
John, Lodowick, Joshua and Jonathan WEAVER, brothers, and Betsey WEAVER, their sister, came from Stonington, Conn., in 1798. They came in the winter with an ox sled. John settled on Brakel Creek, in the town of Pitcher, where Ransom RORAPAUGH now lives. He afterwards removed to the west part of the State. He had two wives and twenty-four children. Lodowick and Joshua settled in Pharsalia, the former a mile north of Pharsalia, on lot 32, on the farm now owned by Isaac S. NEWTON, of Norwich, and occupied by Ed. HUNTLEY, and the latter on lot 69, on the same road-the center road, a half mile to the east of Lodowick, who afterwards removed to Pitcher, to live with his son Noyes, and after the death of the latter, March 28, 1838, to Groton to live with his son Denison, where he died Jan. 31, 1848, aged 84. He (Lodowick) was born May 18, 1763, and married Sept. 4, 1787, Patty, daughter of Nehemiah and Rebecca BROWN, who also died in Groton, Feb. 29, 1852, aged 82. They had eight children: Lodowick, Polly, Samuel Stanton, Russell, Denison Randall, born April 10, 1798, the first child born in Pharsalia, Noyes, Philura, and a daughter who died in infancy. Joshua died June 4, 1811, aged 58, and Anna, his wife, Aug. 12, 1819, aged 69. Jonathan settled in Plymouth, where he kept tavern and died in 1813. Betsey was a maiden lady and lived with her relatives, and died in Pitcher, in October, 1838, aged 77.
Asa WEAVER, who built the first mill in Pharsalia [French's State Gazetteer. Hon. Horace L. BARNES, of Pharsalia, says Jarius FRINK built the first grist and saw-mill.], is believed to have been a brother of the WEAVERs above named, though very little is known of him by the remnant of that family. His grist-mill stood a little south of the stream saw-mill at North Pharsalia. He also built a saw-mill on the same stream-the Canasawacta-a little above the steam saw-mill, where the bridge crosses that stream on the west road from North Pharsalia. Both were built about the beginning of the century, and were in a state of decay in 1827.
Sanford MORGAN settled at the Center, about half to three-fourths of a mile east of the church at that point, where he resided and kept tavern for a good many years. He also kept there the first store and post-office in the town. He kept both store and tavern as late as 1827.
The house in which he lived was burned two years ago. The farm is now owned by Horace PACKER, of Oxford. None of the family are now living here.
David DAVIS settled on lot 69.
Joseph LORD came about 1800 and settled about half a mile south of Pharsalia, where his grandson, James, now lives, and died there Aug. 10, 1839, aged 82, and his wife, Caroline, Jan. 17, 1861, aged 96. He built and was interested in the mill property in that locality. His children were Isaiah, Samuel, Roswell, David, and several daughters.
Major Jabish and Benjain BROWN (not related) came from Stonington, Conn., their native place, soon after 1800. They were both young, single men. They came in the spring, worked one season and returned in the fall to Stonington, where Benjamin married Phebe BROWN. They returned here on horseback that fall or the following spring. Benjamin settled a mile north of Pharsalia, on fifty acres now owned by Nathaniel LEWIS. He afterwards removed to the village, where he died Feb. 1, 1857, aged 78, and his wife, Jan. 26, 1856, aged 79. Their children were Celestia, Ansel, Livonia, Amos M., Aurelia and Angeline. Jabish married, soon after his return, Kiturah, daughter of Nehemiah BROWN, this marriage being the first contracted in the town. He settled opposite Benjamin BROWN and died there, he and his wife, as previously stated. He was supervisor for several years. His children were Perlina, Lydia, Rebecca, Calvin G., Russel and Hiram.
Noah GRANT came from Stonington, Conn., in 1802, and settled on lot 73, in the south-east corner of the town on what is known as the Berry farm, which is now occupied by Silas W. BERRY. He afterwards removed to East Pharsalia and built there in 1806 or '8 the first saw and grist-mill in the south part of the town. The first-mill is still standing and in use, about two miles below the head of the Genegantslet. The saw-mill stood on the site of the present one, which was built about thirty years ago by Lyman B. FELTON. It is owned by H. R. POWELL, but is not in use and has not been for ten or twelve years. The first saw-mill rotten down. Noah Grant removed to Ohio soon after the close of the war of 1812, but his family remained here. His children were Russell, Miner, William B., Noah, Patty, Ruth, John, a daughter, and Justus, who married Amy, daughter of Samuel BARTLETT, and settled at East Pharsalia, on the site of the present hotel. He was a carpenter and cabinet maker, and worked at his trade a number of years. He built and kept the first hotel in that village. It stood on the site of the present one, which was also built by him about forty years ago. The first one was built about 1824.
Luke BABCOCK came from Westerly, R.I., soon after 1800, and settled about a half mile east of North Pharsalia, on the place now owned by Lorenzo BARLOW, and died there. His children were Prentice, Paul, Desire, Nancy, Phebe, Hannah and Delight.
Nathaniel WALDRON came form Newport, Rhode Island, about 1805 or '6 and settled a mile and a half north of East Pharsalia. He bought in company with Thomas BUTLER, from Stonington, Conn., about one-third of the town of Phasalia. He removed about 1818 to the place now occupied by his son Mirtalu N. Waldron, in the north-west corner of the town, where he died April 20, 1831, aged 62. He married Ruth, daughter of Joshua BOWEN, of Bristol, Rhode Island, and had, when he came here, two children, Betsey and Martha B.
Mr. BUTLER never settled here.
Augustus and Edward WHITING, brothers, came from Stonington, Connecticut, in 1802, and settled in the north part of the town, Augustus, on lot 38, on the place now owned by John CHILDS, and Edwin just across the road on lot 27. They established a distillery there. Both removed at an early day to the west part of the State.
Major Timothy BOSWORTH came from Bristol, Rhode Island, in 1804, and settled on lot 53, about a mile and a half north of East Phasalia, where his grandson, Noyes A. Bosworth, now lives. He took up the entire lot. He was well advanced in years when he came here. Both he and his wife are buried on the farm on which they lived and died. Their children were George, Timothy, William, Gardner, Allen, Ann, Elizabeth and another daughter who became the wife of Jonathan FARGO.
Abel NEWTON settled about 1802, on lot 22, in the north part of the town, on the farm afterwards occupied by his son Miles, and at present occupied by Stephen MAXFIELD. He died in the town.
Elijah POWELL came from Dutchess county about 1802 and settled in Sherburne. He removed thence in 1804 to Pharsalia, and settled about a mile and a half west of East Pharsalia, on the farm now owned by his grandson, Henry R. Powell, and occupied by George YOEMANS. The farm has ever since been in the hands of the family. He died June 17, 1869, aged 97, in Richford, Tioga county. His wife, Jane, died March 28, 1846, aged 74. His children were Samuel, Elijah, Jonathan, Isaac T., Betsey, Rebecca, Amanda and Lucina. Four grandchildren only are living in the county, all children of Isaac T., viz: Henry R. Powell, a merchant in East Pharsalia, Orville M., in Pharsalia, Wallace D., in Plymouth, and Harriet, wife of Lucius CRUMB, in East Pharsalia.
Benjamin and John HAMMOND, brothers, came from Newport, Rhode Island, in September, 1809, and bought land of Judge Nathaniel WALDRON. They bought 47 acres, of which John owned some 13 acres and Benjamin the remainder. They paid $6 an acre, though they could then have bought land on the flats in Norwich village at $2.50 an acre. The place, which is about two miles north of East Pharsalia, is now owned by John BROOKS. John lived with Benjamin. Both had families when they came, Benjamin a wife and there till about 1850, when he went to live with his son John in Norwich, where he died in 1858, aged 87. His wife died four years before, aged 84. John, who still lives in Norwich, is the only one of his children left.
Captain Nathan BROWN, who was a native of Stonington, Connecticut, came from Belchertown, Massachusetts, in February, 1808, with his family, consisting of his wife, Eunice, daughter of Ichabod BROWN, of Stonington, Connecticut, ten children and a colored servant named Henry. He settled on lot 33 in the west part of the town, on the line of Pitcher, on 100 acres now owned and occupied by his son Ephraim P. Brown, where he died June 2, 1847, aged 82, and his wife, Sept. 28, 1826, aged 59. His children were Eunice, Patty, Betsey, Roxana, Nathan, Almira, Alfred, and Charles.
Avery BROWN, a younger brother of Captain Nathan Brown, came in a few years later from Stonington, Connecticut, and settled in the north-west corner of the town, where his son Nathan H. now lives, and died there, he and his wife. His children besides Nathan H., were Avery, Luther, Cyrus, Minetta, Marinda and Maranda.
Russell BROWN came from Stonington, Connecticut, where he married Polly, sister of Nathan BROWN, who is still living with her son, William S. Brown, at Pharsalia. They came a few years after Nathan and settled about a mile and half south-east of Pharsalia, where their son Nathan now lives. He died there. Russell Brown, now living at East Pharsalia, is another son of theirs.
The BROWNs were numerous and comprised several distinct families, all of whom were from Stonington, Connecticut. They are said to have numbered at one time one-third of the entire voting population of the town.
Joel CRANE came from Wethersfield, Vermont, in February, 1806. with two horse teams, one a double team, drawing a double sleigh containing the household goods, and a single horse attached to a cutter containing his family, consisting of his wife, Sally GRAVES, originally of Worcester, Massachusetts, and four children, Hendrick, Amaziah, Sally M., and Luther, all of whom were born in Wethersfield, Vermont. Two children were born after they came here, Betsey J. and Mary M. Mr. Crane settled first in Norwich. In May, 1807, he located on 60 acres of the John RANDALL farm at "the Hook," where, in 1811, he commenced keeping tavern in a frame house which stood on the site of the present tavern, or a part of it. The south part of the present tavern, 32 by 34 feet, two stories high, was built as an addition to the first frame house in 1816, the latter having been removed about 1818 and used as a shed and store house and afterwards torn down. He kept tavern there till his death, Jan. 14, 1835. Joel was a son of Hezekiah Crane, of East Windsor, Connecticut, where he was born Jan. 19, 1772. His wife was born in Worcester, Massachusetts, Feb. 17, 1777, and died in Phasalia, Aug. 22, 1852. They were married in 1796.
Ezra BURDICK came from Stonington, Conn., about 1808, with his wife, Martha FISH, and two children, Patty and Delilah, and settled in Brookfield, whence, after some two years, they removed to Pharsalia, where he lived and died July 3, 1859, aged 75, and his wife, April 11, 1827, aged 41. After her death he married Mary HART, who died May 17, 1858, aged 69. He settled a half mile east of Pharsalia, where Silas MORGAN now lives. He afterwards moved a mile and a half south, to the place now owned by Calvin HUNTLEY, where he lived till he was over seventy, when he went to live at McDonough, and died with his son, William R. Burdick.
Elijah BURDICK, father of Ezra came in soon after him and settled on the center road, about a mile south-east of Pharsalia. He died in the town Dec. 17, 1833, aged 75, and his wife, Avis ROBINSON, Feb. 18, 1836, aged 75. His children were Daniel, Betsey, Patty, Avis, Hannah, Eunice and Sally.
The present merchants are Henry R. POWELL and Moses H. FRANKLIN. Mr. POWELL commenced business in the spring of 1857, in company with his father Isaac T. Powell, who commenced about a year before. Both are natives of the town. They traded together some seven or eight years, when H. R. Powell bought his father's interest and has traded alone since, with the exception of one year, when he was associated with Henry BAKER. Mr. FRANKLIN commenced business in the fall of 1877. He and previously done business here a few years about the close of the late war. He has resided in the town some twenty years.
The grist-mill at North Pharsalia was built about two to three years ago, by Isaiah WHITE, the present proprietor. It contains one run of stones and is situated on the Canasawacta, which has a fall of eight or nine feet, but is not a very constant water-power.
The present merchant is Morris D. BROWN, who commenced business in company with his father, William S. Brown, in 1867. After trading some seven years they were burned out. After the fire, Morris D. Brown resumed business in company with his brother, George D. Brown, whose interest he bought after about four years.